Gwendoline - 19th and 20th day at sea

S/Y Gwendoline M - Atlanterhavskryds
10. December. 09.45 UTC.
Ombord Lene, Bente, Annette, Maiken, Oliver, Orla og Kim
Position: 13.33.900N 42.53.500W

Time is ticking away - hour after hour at its own pace - and so does life here on board S/Y Gwendoline M.

Nothing much is happening - here on the vast Atlantic ocean. We are quite alone - as we have not seen any ships for several days.

One important thing did happen tough - which proved beyond any reasonable doubt - how important the very high level of security we hold on board is. Thursday afternoon Bente had decided to sit on the very wide fore deck and read her book. She had done it many times before, and she thought nothing of it. As she is sitting there - all concentrated on the action in her book, with her security line safely clicked on, a giant wave comes along and tilts the ship so much so she slides sideways on her buttock 2 meters towards the port side of the boat, where the security line stops her from falling overboard. She steadies herself, and climbs back from where she came, and she has just barely sat down again before she takes another ride. Then she had had enough, and she came back into the cockpit.

Bente is convinced about the fact, that had she not worn the security line - she would have fallen overboard. That is exactly the reason why it is mandatory to wear the security line at all time on S/Y Gwendoline M. You just never know when you might need it. Who would have guessed it is possible to be tilted so much so you just slide on your behind while sitting down - on a teak deck?

Yesterday, I was down in the engine room to pump diesel into the day tank, from which both the main engine and the diesel generator is supplied. It is normally filled, when the main engine runs, but it has not been running for a long while - that's why it is necessary to manually pump up the diesel from the main tank.

When I was down in the engine room, I noticed a small amount of water splashing around in the bilge. It is normally totally dry - so I presumed that the water ingress came from the drive shaft tunnel. When I had finished my job in the engine room, I went into the saloon, where I lifted the access panel to the drive shaft. When I had lifted the panel, which weighs 15 kg. because of steel fire insulation, a rouge wave came and shook the ship, so I twisted and sprain my knee. Well - that has to wait until I have finished my job - tightening the grease string - which prevents water ingress from the drive shaft tunnel.

When I had finished, and the panel was refitted, I felt that it was not just a minor "sprain" of the knee. Luckily for me, we have a professional physiotherapist on board. She immediately ordered ice on the knee, and then elevation and rest. After half an hour, the ice was replaced by an elastic band aid. This has helped me immensely - and Annette has ordered total rest of the knee for the next 48 hours - in order to prevent further damage of the knee. So now the captain is waited on hand and foot, because I am immobilized. Only drawback to this is that I might get used to this very comfortable situation - being waited on 24*7.

During the night, we encountered some problems with the big autopilot. It simply did not steer the correct course. We realized that it was the electrical engine producing the hydraulic pressure which was faulting. We are now running on the auxiliary autopilot - a slightly smaller hydraulic pump - and we just keep our fingers crossed for it to hold until we make landfall in St. Lucia.

Should the smaller hydraulic pump fail, we just have to hand steer the rest of the way in old fashion style. Hard but doable - as we are 7 skilled sailors on board. Right now we have 1052 nautical miles left to reach St. Lucia - we have already covered 2045 nautical miles since we left Grand Canaries, and 1.100 of these are from when we left Cap Verde island Sao Vincente.

Over and Out from
S/Y Gwendoline M